Click the thumbnail for an in-depth photo tour of the North Carolina as she
appears today. This is an excellent source of super detailing info for builders of
the Classic Warships kit.
The parts comprising the North Carolina kit are shown at the
bottom of this page.
to view them
Etched brass frets
Click thumbnail images to see other
photos of Ken Summa's BB North Carolina
Starboard side forward
Starboard side aft
Plan view Ms 22 paint scheme
Classic Warships page
for ordering information
The two North Carolina
class battleships (North Carolina and Washington) were the first US
battleships to be commissioned after the 1922 Washington Naval treaty banning capital ship
production for 10 years. Both ships were in commission prior to World War 2 and saw a
great deal of action during the conflict. Most of their time was spent as carrier escorts
although they performed some bombardment work. The Washington is credited with
sinking the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima in November of 1942 off Guadalcanal
during what was probably the first US battleship vs. battleship engagement.
The Classic Warship kit
sells for $295 ($260 waterline). The kit's many parts enable the builder to depict either Washington
or North Carolina in any configuration (and there were quite a few) from their
commissioning through late 1942 (North Carolina) or early 1943 (Washington).
And you can finish the model in any of three paint schemes. The two ships
wore the simple Ms 1 paint scheme in 1941, and then adopted Ms 12 Mod (the wavy version of
Ms 12) early-to-mid 1942. If these schemes aren't to your liking, complete the model
as Washington from late 1942 through early 1943 when she wore Ms 22.
This is a multi-media kit with resin, white metal, and photo-etched
brass parts. The hull, superstructure, and gun turrets are resin with fittings and gun
barrels cast from white metal. Two etched brass sheets are included, a generic
rails/ladders fret and a sheet with the catapults, cranes, radars, and 0.50 cal mgs
carried by North Carolina class ships. Resin cast parts are clean with no air
bubbles and very little flash. The white metal parts are also well done, including gun
barrels with the proper circular cross-section, not easy to accomplish in this media.
There was some flash present but the overall white metal quality was good.
Detail is first-rate. The finished model has the proper busy look, its decks
crowded with fittings, vents, doors, hatches, etc. The only substitution I would suggest,
if financially practical, is replace the kit turrets with those from the MB South
Dakota kit, whose turrets have the proper top/side rivet detail. This is
lacking on the Classic Warship's 16" turrets. However carley floats were often
stowed atop the turrets so the lack of detail can be hidden. You will need to fabricate
the masts from brass or plastic rod (not included), but clear instructions make this a
Two 1:350 sets of plans (one for general arrangement and the other for camouflage
patterns) are included. The instructions are well laid out and clearly illustrated, a big
improvement over earlier Classic Warship efforts. There are some deficiencies,
however. They provide no guidance on building the catapults and cranes; nor do they
specify the exact location of the superstructures that sit atop the boat deck. This
is important because there are no locating tabs to prevent the modeler from mis-aligning
these parts. Use the 1:350 plans to determine the proper location. These plans are
essential in building this model and should answer most of your questions. It is also
worth noting that instructions include a useful table listing both armament and propeller
arrangements during the 1941-1942 time frame. This will help you sort out the proper
fit for the period you choose to depict. Unfortunately, there is no parts list to
help you inventory the many resin and white metal pieces.
I built the Washington as she
appeared when she sank Kirishima in 1942. At that time she did not have any
0.50 cal mg but had at least forty 20 mm guns. The kit builds up nicely straight from the
box. However, there are a few areas about which modelers should be forewarned. First,
there are numerous resin parts requiring clean up. While some of them are quickly prepped,
others will need extra care (main turret bottoms, splinter shields, etc.). Next - and this
depends on the version you are building - there are many small AA weapons to assembled and
attached to the deck.
There are two etched brass frets, one of
which is a generic railing/ladder set. Some would prefer railing that is pre-cut to the
proper dimensions. While this makes photo-etch application easier, a generic set keeps
costs lower than they might otherwise be. For those who have a hard time using generic
sets, cut off a 2" piece and use it as a guide for cutting railing to the proper
size. It should also be noted that there is more than enough railing to outfit the ship,
so you'll get a second chance if you mangle a piece. This is not always the case
with custom fitted railing.
The 01 level (or shelter deck) is a thin
casting that results in a lengthy seam when placed on the deck. Fill this with putty,
superglue, paint, or a combination of all three. This was one of the most difficult
construction steps because of the bulkhead detail adjacent to the seam. Exercise
caution so that you don't obliterate these details in the process of sanding smooth the
filler material. I did not keep track of my time on the model (I worked on it
sporadically over a two month period) but it seemed to go together fairly rapidly for a
model of this size and complexity.
The North Carolina is one of
the best kits thus far from Classic Warships and well worth the asking price. Everything
about it is first rate, from the casting to the instructions to the many configuration
options. The North Carolina is definitely not for beginners, but modelers with a
few 1:350 scale resin kits in their past should not have too many problems.